Saturday, May 4, was an ordinary day for 16-year-old Lalrinnungi. After completing her studies and a few household chores in the morning, she left for the village market.
Little did she know that an entourage was awaiting her arrival there. With flower bouquets and congratulations, the crowd approached her with love, for she had become a symbol of pride for all of Mizoram.
The resident of Neihbawi village, which is 15 kilometres away from the state capital of Aizawl, had scored a whopping 97.2%, topping the state’s High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) Class 10 board exams.
She secured the top position by beating more than 17,000 other candidates.
“I was shocked, a little scared but when people started to come and hug me, I started crying in joy,” she laughs.
Lalrinnungi is the youngest of four siblings. Her parents, Lalhlimpuii and Zothanluanga, are vegetable sellers and always wanted their daughter to do well in life.
Owing to her excellent academic performance in her previous school (Presbyterian English School) she received a concession at St Joseph Higher Secondary School, which is a boarding school.
“There was a time when my parents had to struggle to get me admitted to a good school because of financial problems. I had to work extra hard in my previous school and that is how I managed a concession at St Joseph. However, after these results, my parents have been flooded with offers from various schools who want me to take admission. It’s a lot to take in,” she shares.
Lalrinnungi shares that before her move to the boarding school, she would manage her studies at home, while also completing odd chores around the house and helping her parents in the market. “Selling vegetables in the market was reserved for me every Friday,” she says.
However, adjusting to life in a boarding school wasn’t easy for her.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not like other girls of my age. I can’t be. While they can live carefree lives without the care of the world or of money, I had to put my head down and bury myself in my books. Sometimes, I feel it helped me focus more on my education because changing the fate of my family was always my priority!” she says.
The teen dreams of becoming an IAS officer. “I want more people, especially girls like me to have better opportunities. But, before pursuing UPSC, I want to complete my education in medicine,” she concludes.
Kudos to Lalrinnungi for this incredible achievement. We wish her the very best for all her future endeavours.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)